18 Jan, 2018   Rakesh Sharma    Reviews .  ASUS WS X299 SAGE Motherboard

Till date we have mostly reviewed motherboards made to target desktop, gamer and enthusiast market, featuring the needs and use of these type of users. But today we are reviewing a motherboard from ASUS especially targeted towards commercial Servers and Workstation environment, the ASUS WS X299 SAGE Motherboard.

ASUS WS X299 SAGE Motherboard is an Intel LGA 2066 socket and X299 chipset motherboard in a CEB Form Factor. Specially designed for exclusive Workstation type use with lot of features and massive amount of PCIe connectivity.

Now let’s see what ASUS Workstation board have for us.

Features

Intel LGA 2066 CEB motherboard with quad-GPU support, DDR4 4200MHz, dual M.2 & U.2, USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectors, and ASUS Control Center

  • Quad-GPU graphics power: Fits up to four dual-slot graphics cards and supports 4-way NVIDIA® SLI™ or AMD CrossFireX™ GPU configurations.
  • 5-Way Optimization: One-click, system-wide tuning, delivers optimized overclocking and intelligent cooling for a diverse range of workloads.
  • Industry-leading cooling options: Comprehensive controls for fans and water pumps, via Fan Xpert 4 software or the acclaimed ASUS UEFI.
  • Ultra-efficient VRM heatsink: Metal-fin-array design maximizes surface area for heat dissipation to enable unthrottled performance.
  • ASUS Control Center: A software utility that provides convenient, secure and cost-saving centralized IT management for small- and medium-sized businesses.
  • Ultra-fast storage: Up to 32Gbps dual M.2 and U.2, plus up to 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 with Type-A and Type-C ports onboard and a front-panel connector.

Multi-GPU support - WS X299 Sage fits up to four dual-slot graphics cards and supports both NVIDIA® SLI™ and AMD CrossFireX™ 4-way configurations to enable multi-GPU setups that harness the full power of the latest graphics technologies, including NVIDIA® Quadro®. With performance beyond 15.23 TFLOPS*, NVIDIA Quadro is the perfect complement to WS X299 Sage, delivering the best performance for design, modeling, medical research, and processing-intensive simulation and rendering applications.

ASUS Control Center - WS X299 Sage features ASUS Control Center (ACC), a centralized and integrated IT management platform for monitoring and controlling ASUS commercial products, including servers, workstations and digital signage. ACC enables remote BIOS updates, monitoring of multiple systems via mobile devices, and one-click software updates and dispatching, allowing easier server management for any IT infrastructure.

5-Way Optimization - One-click overclocking and cooling. ASUS 5-Way Optimization makes your workstation smart. One click takes care of complex tuning, dynamically optimizing essential aspects of the system to provide overclocking and cooling profiles that are tailored for your rig.

Media-acclaimed UEFI BIOS - The smoothest, slickest mouse-controllable graphical BIOS has been improved to make it even more appealing. Whether you're a PC novice or a seasoned overclocker, EZ and Advanced modes will help you find your way with ease.

Server-grade memory validation - WS X299 Sage supports up to 128GB of quad-channel DDR4 RAM to readily handle the larger data sets found in professional workloads. Strict validation with a wide variety of memory types and operating conditions — including factors such as time, temperature and voltage ranges — ensures that WS X299 Sage provides the reliability and stability professionals depend upon to get their work done.

Flexible Cooling Controls - WS X299 Sage features the most comprehensive cooling controls ever, configurable via Fan Xpert 4 or the UEFI BIOS.

Ultra-efficient VRM Heatsink - Designed for the powerful Intel Core X-series processor with up to 18 cores, WS X299 Sage features a capable thermal design to ensure maximum performance with no CPU throttling. Consisting of an ultra-efficient VRM heatsink with a metal fin array design that maximizes surface area for heat dissipation, plus an additional heatsink and connecting heatpipe to further increase cooling performance, this innovative thermal design ensures WS X299 Sage is always ready to handle any task, no matter how demanding.

Specifications

 

 

CPU

Intel® Socket 2066 Core™ X-Series Processors 
Supports Intel® Virtual RAID on CPU (VROC)
* The Intel® Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 support depends on the CPU types
* Refer to www.asus.com for CPU support list

Chipset

Intel® X299

Memory

Intel® Core™ X-series Processors (6-core above)
8 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 4200(O.C.)/4133(O.C.)/4000(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/2666/2400/2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory 
Intel® Core™ X-series Processors (4-core)
4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 4200(O.C.)/4133(O.C.)/4000(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/2666/2400/2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory 
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
* Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs. 
* Actual memory frequency differs from Intel CPU types and memory module. Please check Intel official site for more detail about the memory types supported by each CPU.

Multi-GPU Support

Supports NVIDIA® 4-Way SLI™ Technology 
Supports AMD 4-Way CrossFireX Technology

Expansion Slots

7 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (single x16 or dual x16/x16 or triple x16/x16/x16 or quad x16/x16/x16/x16 or seven x16/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8)

Storage

Intel® X299 Chipset : 
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
8 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)
2 x U.2 connector*
1
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Support Intel
® Rapid Storage Technology enterprise 5.1 for X-Series(6-core and above) CPU RAID
Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology
Intel® Rapid Storage Technology 15 support
Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready 
Intel® Virtual RAID (VROC) support for CPU RAID

LAN

Intel® I210-AT, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
Intel® I219-LM , 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)

Audio

Realtek® ALC S1220A 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC 
- Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
- Internal audio Amplifier to enhance the highest quality sound for headphone and speakers
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel MIC Jack-retasking
- High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output (Line-out at rear) and 113 dB (Line-in)
Audio Feature :
- DTS Connect
- DTS Headphone:X 
- Audio amplifier: Provides the highest-quality sound for headphone and speakers
- Premium Japanese-made audio capacitors: Provide warm, natural and immersive sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity
- Unique de-pop circuit: Reduces start-up popping noise to audio outputs
Separate layer for left and right track, ensuring both sound deliver equal quality

USB Ports

Intel® X299 Chipset : 
8 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) (6 at back panel, , 2 at mid-board)
Intel® X299 Chipset : 
4 x USB 2.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, )
ASMedia® USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller : 
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (2 at back panel, , Type-A + USB Type-C
TM)
ASMedia® USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller : 
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (1 at mid-board)

Special Features

OC Design - ASUS PRO Clock II Technology
5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5
- 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ VRM, Fan Xpert 4, and Turbo Core App
TPU

Fan Xpert4
- Fan Xpert 4 featuring Fan Auto Tuning function and multiple thermistors selection for optimized system cooling control
ASUS 5X Protection III :
- ASUS SafeSlot Core: Fortified PCIe Slot prevents damage
- ASUS Overvoltage Protection: World-class circuit-protecting power design
- ASUS Stainless-Steel Back I/O: 3X corrosion-resistance for greater durability!
- ASUS Enhanced DRAM Overcurrent Protection - Short circuit damage prevention 
- ASUS ESD Guards - Enhanced ESD protection
ASUS EPU :
- EPU 
ASUS Digital Power Design :
- Industry leading Digital 8 Phase CPU Power Design
- Industry leading Digital 2 Phase DRAM Power Design
AURA :
- Aura RGB Strip Headers
- Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
ASUS Exclusive Features :
- AI Suite 3
- Ai Charger+
- Crystal Sound 3
ASUS EZ DIY :
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 
- ASUS EZ Flash 
- ASUS USB BIOS Flashback 
- Multi-language BIOS
ASUS Q-Design :
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-Code
- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
- ASUS Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-DIMM 
- ASUS Q-Connector
M.2 and U.2 Onboard (The Latest Transfer Technology with up to 32Gb/s Data-transfer Speeds for M.2 and U.2)
Asus Control Center (ACC) IT management software supported

Operating System Support

Windows® 10 64-bit

Back I/O Ports

2 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (teal blue)Type-A
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (black)USB Type-C
TM
6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (blue) 
4 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to USB BIOS Flashback) 
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
1 x 8-channel Audio I/O

Internal I/O Ports

1 x Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
2 x U.2 port
1 x AAFP connector
1 x Aura RGB Strip Header
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) 
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
1 x TPM header
1 x COM port(s) connector(s)
8 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
1 x VROC_HW_Key
1 x CPU Fan connector(s) 
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) 
2 x Chassis Fan connector(s) 
1 x AIO_PUMP connector 
1 x Thunderbolt header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 6-pin ATX Power connector
2 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x EZ XMP switch
1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
1 x Water Pump header (4-pin)
1 x System panel connector
1 x Thermal sensor connector
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector
1 x CPU_OV jumper
1 x MemOK! Button
1 x M.2 Fan Header

Accessories

User's manual
ASUS Q-Shield
1 x Vertical M.2 bracket set
1 x COM port cable(s)
8 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x M.2 screws
1 x Supporting DVD
1 x MOS Cooling kit (fan bracket and 40mm x 40mm fan)
1 x 3-Way SLI bridge(s)
1 x 4-Way SLI bridge(s)
1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-M)
1 x Q-Connector

Form Factor

CEB Form Factor 
12 inch x 10.5 inch ( 30.5 cm x 26.7 cm )

Weight

Color Box(3-in-1)
Net Weight: 5.55kg
Gross Weight: 8.06kg

Bulk Pack(5-in-1)
Net Weight: 6.99kg
Gross Weight: 9.37kg

Environment

Operation temperature: 10 ~ 35
Non operation temperature: -40
~ 70
Non opera
tion humidity: 20% ~ 90% ( Non condensing)

Package

Packing of this board is somewhat same as other ASUS products secure and feature explanatory. Board comes in a nice cardboard box with a flip top jacket over it featuring the product name and board picture. Back of box highlights image of the board and details about supporting technology and features.

Inside the box

Beside the motherboard ASUS has packed this board with very nice set of accessories.

Looks

Board made with a black PCB of CEB form factor (30.5 X 26.7cm) featuring great aesthetics with lot of PCIe slots and big heatsinks with copper tubes distributed all over the motherboard .

Layout

Detailed layout of board.

1. LGA 2066 socket supporting Intel Core™ X-Series Processors

2. WS X299 SAGE is equipped with 8 DIMM DDR4 memory slots supporting Max. 128GB, DDR4 4200(O.C.)/4133(O.C.)/4000(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/2666/2400/2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory.

3. ATX Power connector (24-pin EATXPWR) with Multi coloured Q-LED

4. 2 x ATX CPU Power Connector 8-pin

5. Back I/O Ports : 2 x LAN (RJ45) port(s), 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (teal blue)Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (black)USB Type-CTM, 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (blue), 4 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to USB BIOS Flashback) , 1 x Optical S/PDIF out, 1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s), 1 x 8-channel Audio I/O

6. 6-pin ATX Power connector

7.1 x CPU Fan connector(s), 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s), 2 x Chassis Fan connector(s), 1 x AIO_PUMP connector, 1 x Water Pump header (4-pin)

8.2 x U.2 ports

9. 15. M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode) and vertical M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)

10.MemOK! Button

11.8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors

12. 14.USB 3.1 front panel connector, USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s)

13. System Front panel supporting ASUS Q-Connector

16. TPM header

17. 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector

18. Aura Addressable Strip Header and Aura RGB Strip Header

19. COM port connector and EZ XMP switch

20. Power-on button, Reset button, Clear CMOS button and Q-Code display

21. Front panel audio connector (AAFP)

22. Expansion Slots - 7 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (single x16 or dual x16/x16 or triple x16/x16/x16 or quad x16/x16/x16/x16 or seven x16/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8)

23. Thunderbolt header

Removing Heat-sinks

Heatsinks are made up of dense aluminum, copper heat-tubes and copper fins with thermal pad installed, giving great passive cooling to VRM MOSFETs, X299 chipset and two PLX PCIe lanes switch devices.

Component Layout

Let’s now see what all components ASUS have planned for this board.

1. 2. Digital 8-phase CPU Power VRM Section controlled by Digi+ VRM EPU ASP14051 controller and 8 x IR3556M (Integrated PowIRstage) whic is a synchronous buck gate driver co-packed with a control MOSFET and a synchronous MOSFET with integrated Schottky diode with output current capability of 60A DC each.

3. Two separate 2-Phase DRAM Power section using DIGI + ASP1103 chip for total 8 DIM slots.

4. > Intel WGI218AT G-LAN Controller

5. 16. ASMedia ASM3142 is PCIe-to-two-port USB 3.1 controllers

6. Intel WGI219LM G-LAN Controller

7. The nuvoTon NCT 6796D chip provides the super I/O functions, such as fan control and system monitoring

8. WS X299 SAGE audio subsystem is named as Crystal sound which is powered by a ALC1220 chip with 10 DAC channels, simultaneous 7.1-channel playback, independent 2.0-channel, multiple-stream stereo to front-panel outputs, and an EMI cover for purer audio quality.

Audio section of this motherboard is having some premium Nichicon Gold Capacitors for audio filtration. Whole audio circuitry is isolated from other sections to reduce any interference.

RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) suite is used for testing test WS X299 SAGE audio against Asus Xonar U7 External Sound card. You can see clearly the difference between Noise level, dynamic rang and Total harmonic distortion percentage produced by on-board audio.

RMAA Asus Xonar U7

RMAA ASUS Audio

9. Asmedia ASM1480 PCIe bus switch chips

10. Two PLX PCIe lanes switch devices PEX 8747 for management and switching of PCIe lanes on this motherboard.

11. ASUS custom PRO CLOCK II dedicated base-clock (BCLK) generator and controller chips

12. Intel X299 chipset

13. ASUS TPU micro controller.

14. 15. BIOS Controller and Bios Chip.

17. ASUS Digi+ VRM EPU ASP14051 controller is used for two separate power sections to power two PLX PCIe lanes switch devices.

18. Board is also having a STM32F072T8 microcontrollers incorporate.

19. ASUS custom AURA chip for managing all the RGB lighting functionally on this board.

Testing

CPUIntel Core i7 7820X
Board WS X299 SAGE
RAM4 X 4GB Corsair Dominator DDR4 3000Mhz
SSDCorsair 240GB SSD
CoolerCooler Master MASTERLIQUID MAKER 240
GFX AMD RADEON Vega 56
PSUCooler Master 750
DisplayAcer S220HQL
OS Windows 10
Case Cooler Master MASTERCASE 5

BIOS

Bundled Software

Benchmarks

Overclocking

Power Consumption

Wattage reading as per displayed by APC Pro 1000VA (Model no. BR1000G-IN) UPS.

Pros

  • Lot of PCIe slots
  • Two Intel GLAN interface
  • ASUS Control Center
  • Good BCLK Overclocking

Cons

  • iKVM remote-management missing

Conclusion

Usually workstation build are super horse-power PC builds involving serious computing powers using something from Intel’s Xeon CPU product line with 2P or even 4P builds. But that’s not the case for everyone, now a day’s there are lot of scenarios where GPU computing power is more used than that of CPU.

Targeting these types of workstation needs, the ASUS WS X299 SAGE motherboard with Intel Core X "Skylake-X" processors supports is the best board for the money right now. Offering massive PCIe connectivity alongside lot of memory and storage support. Dual Intel GLAN interface also support teaming which combines the network links, but I thing an iKVM remote-management could have added more to the product.

Finally, when pairing this motherboard with few of the higher end GPUs like NVIDIA TITAN V, one can accelerate AI computing to many folds. So if you are in deep learning or AI and adopting GPU accelerated computing the ASUS WS X299 SAGE motherboard is the best option for you and worthy of our PC TeK Reviews EXCELLENCE Award.

Manufacturers Info

Site Link

Thanks.

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